My grandmother is in the hospital. It's pancreatic cancer. It seems silly to say that we don't know how "bad" it is, but we don't know, yet, how "bad" it is. It appears to be "bad". Bad. A three-letter word we give so much immense power to. A little fucking word that is so large, so dangerous, so scary.
I'm not sure how I'm feeling about this. I'm feeling disconnected, confused, out-of-body, out of the moment... my grandmother is the only grandparent I have ever known, the only living grandparent I have, but our relationship in my lifetime has been, well, "challenging" seems like a more polite way to put it, but suffice to say that I was never her favorite. I reminded her too much of my father -- a compliment to me, an insult to her. She adores my brother, the first-born and her godson, he was her everything. When my mother became pregnant with me, there was some drama surrounding the family dynamic at that time between my grandmother and father, to the point where, I'm told, she cursed me in the womb, wishing me death. Sounds so dramatic as I type it out, but isn't it interesting the power of words and intention, for my mother's pregnancy was a difficult with me, close to losing me, intermingling moments of the intended "curse" to coincide with past life karma, my umbilical cord was wrapped around my throat -- born into the world with throat chakra issues, sometimes I forget how long it traveled to attach to me.
By the time my sister was born my grandmother had more of a presence in our family, but still, in some ways I became a reminder of that time that she was separated from my mother in what she believes was entirely my father's fault. It's characteristic of how we tend to hold onto hurt and continue to hurt others because of the pain we endure.
I have some good memories with her -- though as an adult I find them harder to bring to the surface of my mind. Instead I remember days where she was rude to me, where she yelled at me, where she blatantly favored my brother and sister over me, where she tried to convince my mother to get rid of us... "ungrateful" is a word I recall her using in that situation.
Still... she's my grandmother. The only one I have ever known. I haven't 'forgiven' her those moments, I've just let them be. Whether it's character building or just the understanding that it's a "generational" thing, it doesn't much matter when you choose to let it go. I let it go and over the years didn't have much contact with her.
She's the first one in my family to be sick. To be this sick. Last year I said goodbye to three people... it was the first time I really processed through death, or at least began the process of understanding death from this realm. It's not to say that I haven't had relatives die, I have, but they have all been in Chile. In some innocent, child-like way I see them as "not here" vs gone in the way we know people to be, physically, from this world.
I didn't know how to feel when I heard about my grandmother. Sorry. Sorry that anyone has to go through any kind of suffering. Sorry that one day without notice you are handed a diagnosis that can rattle anyone to their core.
She doesn't want treatment. The fact is, she has lost her will to live a long time ago. I'm not surprised to hear this. I'm not. I figured as much. She is ready to die, anyone can see that, it's clear when you're in her presence.
She went into the hospital on Wednesday night, got the call Thursday morning and by the afternoon I had gone in with my father to go visit her. I didn't know what to expect, how she would look, how I would even feel, but I knew it was important to be there sooner rather than later, so I went.
I wasn't prepared for what I saw. This womyn, this womyn laying on the bed, fragile, somewhat broken even, thin, scared, and yellow... incredibly yellow. A yellow that I didn't know people could turn. The whites of her eyes were gone, replaced by another shade of yellow, a shade that even lightened her brown eyes. Her temperature hot, her blood pressure incredibly low... here was the womyn who loved me less, who cared for me less, who preferred others to me... yet, here was a womyn, in pain, in fear, in loss... that was the womyn I was visiting. I didn't feel attached -- not in the way that seems cold, but in the way that I felt called to be there in service, not as a grandchild, but as someone who would hold the hand of anyone in this kind of pain, in this kind of terror, it was the way I knew how to be there in that moment.
I held her hand, asked of she wanted Reiki, and she did, so I sat and cleared the channels, opened myself up to allowing the healing, in whatever form she most needed, to flow, without ego, just love. Just love.
I told her to close her eyes and just breathe, that's all she had to do, and she nodded and rested as best as she could. The pain was there, so heavy, so torturous, and clearly very large. She began to shake as I began to feel the pressure rise and rise. Then, at one point, it simply stopped. Her shaking stopped, the heat and the pain stopped. I opened my eyes to look at her and saw tears. "Bien", she had said. Good. The pain was gone. For a moment, it was gone. And I held her hand as she spoke to me in Spanish, a language I no longer translate in my mind, but let her speak, in hope that even if I didn't understand, maybe it was just important to let her speak, without understanding, just presence. It was the only gift I knew how to give in that moment.
I held her hand, she squeezed mine tight, tears filling her eyes, fear felt all over the room, like old wallpaper that never quite leaves... and I looked at her, squeezed her hand tight in return, and said "Don't be afraid, Abuela... don't be afraid." It wasn't me. It wasn't even my guides. This was all channeled for her. It was her message, her guides, her key to this next phase, whatever this next phase was, to just hear it. Despite the language barrier, she understood, tears rising once more, then a deep breath as she shook her head. Yes, she understood. Whatever it meant, whoever it came from, she understood, and in that moment I looked at her, this fragile womyn, and something became so very clear:
She's my mother's mother. My daughter's great-grandmother... her blood is my blood. No matter our differences, no matter how she treated me, no matter these memories of pain and sadness and the realization of her being one of the teachers in my life who I believed convinced me that I couldn't be loved... we shared the same blood.
We share the same blood.
That was a profound moment for me. I was there to be of service to the Realm of Ancestors. It wasn't about me in that moment to wonder about old pains. It's not to deny them or not validate them, no, that's a later piece for me to work on. She can't help me with that, that much I am clear on. Bringing that pain there, the anger, the hurt of how I believed I wasn't worthy of the same love, that's not something I plan to give her to take with her into the next life. She has her own karma to carry, whether this piece is a natural part of it or not, that's not for me to decide or dissect.
There's so much attached to this moment, to the "what comes next" phase that feels so cold, so calculated. But, in this capacity, we must "plan" as best we can. For her, for my mother, for each other. What comes next, we all hold it in our minds with baited breath. We know. We taste it. Not just of my grandmother's illness, the fact that she won't fight, or rather, won't fight to live in this realm with this pain, but instead fight to hold onto a choice that she can only hope will be honored, without battle.
No, what comes next is another level of pain that we haven't had to visit in some time. It's a pain I understand, but I don't know how we are going to deal with it. How does one prepare? How does one prepare when most are already tired of fighting? How does one prepare when the story you think you have finally put to a close has come back, reprinted for another generation, yet, it's not a new generation at all, but the same generation, just older, wiser (?), but tired. Tired of fighting for someone who won't even fight for themselves. What do you do with that?
Yes, it's rushing the gun. It's thinking too far ahead, like being a cheap fortune teller who predicts an outcome that you're now convinced is true, while ignoring life all around -- the *now* of life. This present moment.
I'm in the present, and I'm not. I'm in the pain, and I'm not. I'm in the fear, and I'm not. Not yet.
How do I process through this? With deep breaths. That's all I can do, that's all I can handle for this moment. I have so many questions in my mind, so many things that I am processing through, and yet, trying to make room for the rest as well. It weighs heavy on my chest.
It feels like a wave...